Hyde Park tops event closures

Cancellation of last week's London concert mirrored across the country as rain waterlogs sites.

Royal Parks have become the latest alfresco-hospitality victim of the disastrous summer weather, cancelling the Hit Factory Live show in Hyde Park last week.

Organiser Live Nation and Royal Parks admitted defeat a day before the concert last Wednesday. The show was due to feature stars including Kylie Minogue.

Some 8,000cu m of water-absorbent woodchips were dumped in 24 hours onto ground already churned by 80,000 festival goers the previous weekend. "But despite our best efforts, time beat us," the organisers said.

More concerts are planned throughout July and August. Hyde Park manager Steve Edwards said: "We are confident that the remainder of the summer concert series will go ahead as planned."

Rain also stopped play at the three-day agricultural Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate. The event had to shut at the end of the first day after a 30-minute afternoon deluge followed downpours that flooded fields that were being used for car parking.

Show director Bill Cowling said: "This has been the most difficult decision I have ever had to make and it is heartbreaking. This is the 154th show and 130,000 visitors were due to attend. But unprecedented amounts of rain have made it impossible to continue."

Not even extensive pre-emptive preparation including the installation of new roads and drainage systems could cope with the torrential downpours that battered the area for more than three months. Last month saw the most rain ever recorded for that period.

Meanwhile, saturated grounds forced Makita to pull the plug on an outdoor power equipment day at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire on 19 July at which it was due to demonstrate kit. According to a representative: "Makita hopes to re-establish an alternative date this autumn when conditions improve."

In addition, at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, due to take place on 18-22 July, the Knutsford entrance had to be rebuilt after being hit by heavy rain.

Suffolk County Council and the Great Yorkshire Show have offered exhibitors partial refunds after bad weather cut them short.

Inside view

"Royal Parks staff have a wealth of experience restoring sites to a high quality following events. During preparation we take several measures to ensure that impact is minimised including laying trackways for vehicles and matting in areas of high footfall.

"Revenue generated from the concert series has been reinvested to maintain and improve features such as drainage. We are confident the park will recover, as it does following every event we host."

Steve Edwards, manager, Hyde Park.

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